Cleaning up from the Thanksgiving or holiday feast, no one wants to waste a single tidbit of that delicious food. Turkey leftovers can be used to make lots of wonderful family dishes.
Here’s the big secret. It’s handy to have a significant supply of zippered plastic bags or resealable plastic food containers in stock.
Here are eight great ways to use turkey leftovers to make additional meals.
1. Freeze leftover turkey for the future.
Leftovers offer a delightful shortcut for many recipes. Even the smallest portions are worth saving. Cut the meat into small pieces, removing any bones and skin, and put it into a zippered plastic freezer bag.
Toss leftover vegetables, rice, pasta, and other foodstuffs into freezer bags as well. (Keep various ingredients separate.)
Use a permanent marker to record the contents and date on the outside of each bag. Store the sealed bags in the freezer immediately. These items will be extremely helpful, when it’s time to make casseroles, pot-pies, soups, stews, stir fry, or other suppers.
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2. Try turkey tetrazzini.
Whip up a batch of the family’s favorite pasta. Arrange the cooked noodles in a rectangular glass baking dish. Place boneless, skinless (cut-up) turkey meat and vegetables on top. Pour gravy over all. Sprinkle with cornflakes. Season the entire casserole with salt and pepper, paprika, and parsley to taste.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 (F), or microwave until warmed through before serving.
3. Produce a turkey pot-pie.
Thaw a pair of frozen folded pie crusts. Shape one crust into a 9” pie pan.
Pour a couple of cans of cream of potato condensed soup into a large mixing bowl. Add the cut-up turkey meat, and a half a cup of milk. Toss in the cooked peas, corn, and carrots. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and thyme to taste, and spoon it into the prepared pie crust.
Top the turkey pie with second crust. Crimp the edges gently to enclose the pie. Use a fork to perforate the top in a decorative pattern.
Glaze the top of the turkey pie with one egg (beaten), if desired.
Bake it for 40 minutes at 350 (F). Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
4. Cook a terrific turkey stew.
Fill a crockpot , stock pot, or Dutch oven with leftover turkey meat and vegetables. Peel and cut up several potatoes, celery stalks, and carrots. Add two or three cans of turkey broth, depending on the size of the pot. Season the turkey stew to taste. Simmer until potatoes, celerys and carrots are tender.
5. Whip up a turkey stir-fry.
Gather the leftover turkey meat and vegetables, while a wok or frying pan heats up. Place a dab of olive oil in the pan before tossing in all of the ingredients. (Include pea pods and water chestnuts, if desired. Heat all items through.
Cook a batch of rice. Gently place the hot stir-fry mixture on a bed of rice on each plate before serving. Add soy sauce, if desired.
6. Make some super turkey sandwiches.
What can beat a delicious hot or cold turkey sandwich? Simply set the ingredients on the counter, and invite the family and guests to construct their own. Be sure to have plenty of breads, fresh cleaned lettuce, and mayonnaise on hand. Some folks may even add cranberry jelly to their leftover turkey sandwich concoctions.
7. Use leftover turkey to create stupendous salads.
A big tub of fresh lettuce mix, an assortment of crunchy vegetables, and leftover boneless turkey meat provide the makings of a stupendous salad bar. Offer a variety of dressings, and the kitchen is ready for company.
8. Steam up some turkey soup.
Watching holiday football games? Trimming the Christmas tree? Hanging outdoor lights? What could be better, at such a time, than a piping hot bowl of homemade soup?
Gather the leftover turkey meat and vegetables. Add some cooked rice, small pasta, or potatoes. Include remaining breaded stuffing, if desired. Toss everything into a big deep pot on the stove (or a crockpot). Add a couple of cans of turkey or chicken broth. Season the soup to taste. Heat it clear through. Then watch the crowds gather, as the home fills with the delicious aroma.
Leftover turkey offers a wonderful start for many family-friendly dishes, including these eight favorites. With a little creativity, it’s easy to make turkey leftovers not seem like recycled Thanksgiving dinner for the umpteenth time. Instead, the poultry remnants can become the fixings of a fresh sort of feast for the family.